The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
2018 | Drama | In English | 123 minutes
During World War II, the island of Guernsey was one of the few British territories occupied by the German army. During this period, four local residents were stopped by the German soldiers for breaching curfew. Quick-thinking, they explained to the Germans that they were returning from their book club called “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.” The soldiers bought the excuse and the club was launched that day. In 1946, while writer Juliet Ashton was promoting her latest book, she received a fan letter from Dawsey Adams, a Guernsey resident, asking for help purchasing a book in England and proudly stating that he was a member of “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.” Intrigued, Juliet decides to visit the island for a weekend and find out about this club with the very funny name. Juliet arrives and is treated like a celebrity. She decides to stay longer eager to conduct research about the war years. Townspeople begin to open up about the past. Julia not only finds the scandals in this idyllic island overwhelmingly painful, but as an engaged woman, she now finds herself deeply in love with Dawsey Adams. What a mess.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 81%
- Metacritic Score: 65
- 75th Venice Film Festival, Winner, Golden Lion
- Ten Academy Award Nominations. Winner: Best Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director (Alfonso Cuarón), Best Cinematographer (Alfonso Cuarón)
- Festivals: Venice, Telluride, Toronto, New York
Best Film of 2018: Time Magazine and The New York Film Critics Circle
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Don’t be put off by the overly adorable title, the film offers the kind of cushiony stealth charm that’s easy to sink into. Director Mike Newell’s warm, light touch, coupled with Zac Nicholson’s lush, evocative cinematography (with ruggedly gorgeous Devon and Cornwall filling in for Guernsey as a location). make this idyll a pleasure. It’s simply a movie that makes you feel welcome.
The film is a confection in every sense and plump with natural sweetness.
Newell directs with sensitivity and the occasional invention; the movie has an almost tactile appreciation of periodic detail as when Juliet sets to writing, the camera lingers on her onionskin typing paper. The cast is impeccable. Ms. James is both charming and convincing; Penelope Wilton is moving as Amelia. Tom Courtenay, as a village elder, is very much Tom Courtenay, which is always a great thing.
Mike Newell is skilled at delighting audiences, and GUERNSEY is the director’s most accomplished film since his marvelous 2005 installment of the HARRY POTTER franchise. Fans of the bestselling novel, upon which the film is based, will likely eat it up. Although the subject matter could’ve been developed more, this film’s chief aim is escapism. It’s a welcome diversion at a time when the nation’s collective blood-pressure is continuing to climb.
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